Nearly everyone has experienced a sting or bite of an insect. Although these stings and bites can cause some serious discomfort, mild pain is the most serious reaction a person usually has.
Normal reactions to wasp stings can develop anywhere on the body. The majority of the time redness, itching, and mild pain on the skin around the place where the sting occurred is what a person will experience. Other reactions to wasp stings may include non-life-threatening reactions, such as hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and headaches. However, for a small percentage of the of the population (1 in 1000), more severe reactions may occur. Scratching may bring additional problems such as bleeding and sometimes infections of the skin.
There are several over-the-counter products to alleviate the pain and itching of a wasp sting. Also, cold compress could do the job depending of a person’s sensitivity to the wasp venom. Over-the-counter antihistamines come as aerosol or in creams so you can apply them directly on the sting.
Anaphylaxis: Worst Case Scenario for a Wasp Sting
The worst case scenario to a wasp sting is anaphylaxis. This may occur in allergic or hypersensitive persons. Also, if a person receives multiple wasp stings, massive amount of venom may cause severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.
In allergic people, the venom of the insect combines with antibodies associated to mast cells. These mast cells will release histamines which in turn causes fluid to go out of the blood stream into cells, tissues, and organs. These events cause a blood pressure decrease that if not treated promptly will result in an anaphylatic shock, and possible death.
Anaphylaxis can be successfully reversed if treated on time. A person suspected of having severer allergic reaction should have emergency treatment as soon as possible.
Epinephrine, or adrenaline, injected into the patient will revert anaphylaxis immediately. A person who is aware that is allergic to wasp or insect stings should carry an epinephrine syringe or a sting kit. Epinephrine can be bought only by prescription
Avoiding Wasp Stings
Wasps, like many other insects, are attracted to certain odors. Perfume, cologne, or even scented soaps are known to attract insects including wasp. Keep in mind that a flowery scented cologne may remind a wasp about the flour it needs to go to get the food it needs. So, avoiding perfume, cologne, and scented soaps is a good preventive measure if you going out into the woods
Another thing to do to prevent wasp stings is to avoid using bright colored or flowery patterned clothing. These may attract wasp and insect in generals. If you swim in a lake or in an outdoor pool watch for wasp that may be trapped on the water surface and avoid touching them. If you happen to find a wasp nest do not disturb it and go away as fast as possible.
Medical toxicology by Richard C. Dart (2004). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 3rd edition.
Allergy: your questions answered. By Helen E. Smith, Helen Smith, Anthony J. Frew, Alan Frew (2003). Elsevier Health Sciences